by Linday Bubar
In 2012, political scientist Jennifer Lawless at American University published a study containing the only systematic, nationwide, empirical research into gender and political ambition. Through this research, we know that an “ambition gap” plays out in the following ways:
- Women are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elective office
- Women are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office
- Women are less likely than men to think they are qualified to run for office
- Running for office remains a less attractive and feasible endeavor for women than for men
While it’s important to have the conversation about why we’re here, it’s even more important to do something about it. Organizations like Emerge California, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Close the Gap, California List, and others are working on addressing the underlying issues that cause fewer women to run and win.
Addressing those issues involves identifying and asking women to run, training them so they have the expertise it takes to overcome all of the unique challenges women face, connecting them to influential community leaders, political action committees, and donors so they have the support they need, and holding them accountable once they win to ensure they’re mentoring the next generation.
We can only make the progress we all want if we work together.
Lindsay Bubar is currently working with Emerge California, serves as the vice president of political action of the National Women’s Political Caucus, LA Westside and as a Los Angeles advisory board member of Running Start. Lindsay also served as the political director for the Wendy Greuel for Mayor campaign, working to elect what would have been the first female mayor in Los Angeles’ 232 year history.